After a late summertime lull of new offerings, the IPO market will heat up again later this week. A whopping seven companies are slated to go public on Thursday and Friday, and one of those happens to be Trulia.
The stock -- expected to price tonight between $14 and $16 and begin trading tomorrow morning -- will draw attention to the publicly traded real-estate websites.
It's a shallow pool. As the definitive source for mortgage rate information, Bankrate (NYSE: RATE ) may be seen as a rival real-estate play, but when it comes to websites for real-estate professionals to smoke out leads and for potential homeowners to find new digs, Trulia's public peers consist mostly of Zillow (Nasdaq: Z ) , Realtor.com parent Move (Nasdaq: MOVE ) , and Market Leader (Nasdaq: LEDR ) .
Zillow may be the closest match to Trulia, because both companies have managed to thrive even during the residential real-estate collapse.
Trulia is a speedster. Revenue climbed 91% in 2009 and 95% to $38.5 million last year. Trulia's revenue grew a still-impressive 78% during the first half of this year. The problem is that Trulia has yet to turn a profit.
Zillow is bigger, and it's also growing faster. Revenue soared 117% last year to $66.1 billion, and the company also turned profitable in 2011.
What Zillow does once Trulia begins trading shortly after tomorrow morning's market open depends largely on what the market deems Trulia to be worth. If it prices at the midpoint of its range ($15), Trulia would command a market cap of roughly $400 million on the 26.3 million shares that it will have outstanding.
Zillow's market cap of $1.25 billion is triple the potential size of Trulia, but Zillow is also nearly twice as large in terms of revenue and is profitable. It's a fair premium on Zillow. If Trulia prices at the high end of its range and pops higher at the open, Zillow should also move higher.
Expect Zillow and Trulia to be compared often over the years, and the first official pitting starts tomorrow.
Zillow has climbed 51% since I recommended it to Rule Breakers newsletter subscribers last year, but there are other opportunities out there.
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